28 Feb 2018 13:27

Russia's Seleznyov, convicted in U.S., transferred to better prison - newspaper

MOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) - The defense of Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov, who was sentenced to 27 years by a court in the U.S. state of Washington for cyber fraud, and the Russian embassy to the United States have achieved his transfer to a better prison in another state, but the new prison's warden is still trying to limit the Russian's rights, the newspaper Izvestia said on Wednesday.

"Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov, sentenced to 27 years for cyber crimes, was transferred to the Butner prison in North Carolina on January 23, 2018. The transfer resulted from the joint time-consuming efforts of the Russian embassy to the United States and the Russian's lawyers," the newspaper said, citing Seleznyov's lawyer, Igor Litvak.

"The Butner prison has a good reputation. Roman has a severe medical condition that requires specialized care, so his transfer was a key objective of ours. Conditions were awful in the previous prison. We are extremely grateful to the Russian embassy for facilitating his transfer. Butner is a much better place: it is less crowded and has a library, a gym, and good medical service," Litvak told Izvestia.

He added that the rights of his client remained limited in Butner.

"I am the only inmate required to report to the prison's staff every two hours. They say I am a very dangerous criminal and that those security measures are necessary. I have to confirm my presence on a daily basis, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Naturally, this is tiresome, because I am unable to rest for more than two hours," the lawyer quoted Seleznyov as saying to Izvestia. Seleznyov is still unable to speak to his family or the press directly.

"Medical service is good in this prison, but I have been prescribed medicines that make me feel sleepy all the time. My lawyer has requested my medical file, which will be examined by other doctors," Seleznyov said.

Izvestia said that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons was unavailable for immediate comment.

Seleznyov was arrested in the Maldives in 2014 with the participation of U.S. law enforcement. The police found 1.7 million stolen bank card numbers. The damage he did to about 37,000 financial institutions totaled $170 million. Seleznyov was taken to Guam, where there is a U.S. military base, by private jet. He was later moved to Seattle.

A U.S. court sentenced Seleznyov to 27 years in prison in April 2017. He was given an additional 14-year sentence on February 1, 2018 to be served simultaneously with the previous sentence. Seleznyov pleaded guilty. He has written an 11-page letter saying he regrets what he did and is ready to use his knowledge and skills to help prevent cyber attacks and fight cyber crime.